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October 28, 2005

Communication Technology

Wiser and more eloquent folk than I have commented on the increasingly rapid pace of changes in communication technology. Within the context of dormitory life, I find the gap between three dates interesting. Guilford House acquired its first telephone in 1894. Approximately 90 years later the dormitories were wired for CWRUnet, the campus network. Less than 20 years after that, wireless communication is the choice of approximately 80% of incoming students. It maybe a cliché, but it makes me wonder what kind of new communication pattern will prevail in student residences in 10 years.
Jill Tatem
University Archives

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October 26, 2005

More Rules to Live By

I thought listing some of the "sillier" rules regarding living in dormitories might be fun. We have already listed some of these rules on our Dorm Life exhibit, but I thought it would be worth mentioning a few more.

Searching through the 1950s Case Institute of Technology rules and regulations for dormitories, these might give you a chuckle:

Laundry and Lavatories:

A laundry room equipped with coinamoatic washing machines and dryer, as well as with ironing boards and irons, is provided in the basement of each dormitory. The washbowls in the lavatories may not be used for laundry. The laundry room and the lavatories must be left clean after use.

Maid Service:

Maid service is maintained according to a schedule determined by the Superintendent of Buildings and Grounds. In general, maids change bed linens and thoroughly clean the rooms once a week. In addition, they visit each room daily to empty the wastebasket and ashtrays and to do such minor cleaning as time will allow.


The housing of dogs, cats, birds, snakes and all other sorts of pets is prohibited, with one exception: goldfish are tolerated, but not encouraged. Case reserves the right to evict them, also.


Games of catch, touch football and the like are not allowed in front of either dormitory. Such activities pose a great hazard to windows, passing autos, stray pedestrians and lawns. Use another open space or an empty parking lot for your activity. You might work off your excess energy at the gymnasium.

Window Sills:

Articles should not be placed on the window sills, nor should lighted cigarettes or any refuse be thrown from the window.

Tom Steman
University Archives

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October 20, 2005

A subject dear to the hearts of many college students


This image appears on the Rules to Live By page of the scrapbook. It is from the 1979 yearbook, accompanied by the title "Hard Liquor in Dorms Denounced" and quotations from administrators stating that they did not realize hard liquor could be found in the dorms.

I know there are people out there whose best dorm life stories may involve the consumption of just the slightest amount of an alcoholic beverage. Or 2. Well, we're not here to get anybody in trouble, so if you have such a story, please don't hold back! As you can see from the Rules to Live By page, it's no secret that dormitory rules occasionally get broken.

Heather Henderson
University Archives

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October 18, 2005


In the mid-1980s, when I worked in Western Reserve College (does anyone remember Western Reserve College?), I made one of my work-study students take me to the north-side dorms and other hang-outs for the students (like The Spot in Leutner) and I had another student take me to the south-side dorms, so I could see what the housing was like here. At that time, even though there had been integrated housing on campus for a long time (integrated meaning Case and Reserve students could live together in the same dorm), it was still mostly Case students in the south-side dorms and mostly Western Reserve students in the north-side dorms. How did you feel about that? Did you feel the College distinctiveness should carry over to housing?

Helen Conger
University Archives

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October 14, 2005

Miscellaneous Pardee Hall Memories from 1957

Tim W. Elder sent these recollections to the Archives to share:

My roommate lost a portable typewriter on his desk. His younger brother became a famous football player.

The automobile turned upside down (downside up??) in Glennen's parking place. Some took advantage by salvaging a few parts.

Throwing Frisbees in the corridor. They skip well off the hard floor and walls, and also the fluorescent tubes.

Someone on the second floor complaining that a stereo on the first floor was too loud--after it bounced off a Reserve building.

Guys in ROTC uniforms, sure looked like policemen at night, directing Euclid traffic up the Case driveway. Semis, particularly, had a tough time getting turned around.

Exploring buildings under construction.

The blossoms around Wade Park pond were beautiful one spring--trouble is I forget which year.

The Rolls-Royce club starting a tour from our parking lot--sure disturbed studying for finals for me!

Someone on the second floor rolling barbells on the floor--sure made a racket in the room below.

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Lessons in Laundry

One day in 1970, one of my suite mates was headed to the laundry room in the basement of Michelson House, and asked if I had anything I would like washed, as he had just a few items. I gave him all my white jockey briefs, as I was running low. An hour later he returned them in a brilliant shade of pink. It seems he had washed them with something red. He found this enormously amusing, and laughed for a full hour. I was less enthused. It took months before repeated washes faded my drawers to something closer to their original state. I learned a lesson about laundry, and also about roommates!

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The Dinner Dress Code

I arrived on the Case campus in the fall of 1969. In the orientations materials I had received from the school, they told us that jackets and ties were required at dinner. As I did not have a jacket at that time, my older cousin took me shopping, and bought me two sport coats.

On our first day on campus, there was discussion about this in the suite before we went to dinner, but we all dressed as advised. By day two, however, many had stopped wearing the formal clothes, and within a few days it was anything goes. My guess is that the rules had stopped being enforced a year or two before, but no one revised the orientation materials: an expensive omission for those of us who didn't know any better.

I was also advised to sew my name into all my clothing. My mother had labels made up with my name on them, and dutifully sewed them onto each garment, as well as my towels. Although all the clothing is long gone, I still have some of the towels that I bought to bring to school (which I use as rags), and when I see that name tag, I think back on my first few days as a freshman.

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October 12, 2005

The Crematorium

It was the winter of 1970 when Bruce, one of my Michelson House suite-mates brought home a pet land crab. He fed it bits of food salvaged from the Commons, and it provided a bit of comic diversion while it resided in our living room. When the crab finally passed away, Bruce thought his companion deserved a send-off fitting for a Viking. He put the crab in a coffee can filled with kerosene, took it out to the ledge behind the dorm, bordering the parking lot, and set it ablaze.

None of us expected the inferno that ensued, shooting a plume of flame 12 feet high into the murky Cleveland night sky. From the safety of our suite, we watched as the furnace fumed for over an hour, and was eventually consumed, along with the remains of Bruce's crab.

We were graced by the fact that this ill-conceived prank did not result in any damage or injury, not to mention arrest or expulsion. But that flame burned an indelible image on the collective cortexes of those who saw it, as a lasting testament to the folly of youth.

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Life During Wartime

With the conflict in Iraq raging on for two years now, I thought spotlighting the University's participation in past wars was worthwhile. World War I, which was fought from 1914 to 1918, was no exception. The United States entered World War I in April 1917. Higher education institutions like Western Reserve University and Case School of Applied Science were not untouched by the conflict in Europe. As shown on our dorm life scrapbook, in the fall of 1918, WRU quickly constructed two barracks, which housed 300 men, and a mess hall for the Students' Army Training Corps (SATC). Classes were delayed due to the influenza epidemic that hit the city in October 1918 - instruction resumed on November 11, 1918, the day World War I ended. Demobilization of WRU's SATC unit was completed a month later. Thus, as quickly as the SATC and its barracks and mess hall appeared that fall, the buildings were knocked down and the SATC disbanded, ending WRU's short period of participation in World War I.

Incidentially, CSAS housed their SATC unit at the Elysium, which was located at Stokes and Euclid Avenue.

Tom Steman
University Archives

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October 10, 2005

Elephant Steps

One alumna wrote to say that while she enjoyed the Dorm Life online scrapbook, we missed one of the big things about living on Carlton Road on the south side of campus: the Elephant Steps. Originally there were 2 sets of steps - one set which went between the 2 sets of fraternity dorms on Murray Hill Rd. and Carlton Rd.; the other set went between the 2 sets of dorms: Michelson, Kusch, Glaser and Alumni, Tippit, Howe, Staley. In 1985 the Steps between the fraternity housing were removed and the other set were renovated complete with a canopy. Tell us about the Elephant Steps! Here's a photo of them under construction.

Helen Conger
University Archives

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October 05, 2005

New Dorms

When Case Institute of Technology opened its first dorms in the 50s, they were considered pretty state of the art. The first and last quotations on the Case Dorms page of the scrapbook are interesting when compared with the description of the Village at 115 on the Housing and Residence Life site.

We have noticed that talk of the new facility and all its amenities really inspires people who have lived in dorms in the past to compare the places they've lived to this new dorm, and to remember stories about their dorm life.

Heather Arnold Henderson
University Archives

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